Your beach break guide to Con Dao

Monday - 05/09/2022 16:56
Out of the 16 islands forming the Côn Đảo archipelago, only Côn Sơn is inhabited, multiplying the potential for sunbathers and snorkellers to enjoy secluded beaches and see colorful coral reefs and fish. Even hikers can enjoy this beach destination by exploring the vast national park that covers most of the island. Far enough from the mainland to feel remote, but close enough to reach with a short plane ride, the Côn Đảo archipelago has all the makings of an idyllic holiday. Here are seven ways to spend your time on the island.

Soak up the beachy vibes 

Beach breaks on Con Dao Islands

Flip flops, summer dresses and the islanders’ laid-back attitude will tip you off. The weather here is warm all year round, and the locals take advantage of the sunshine at the many beaches scattered around the island. Spend a day at Đầm Trầu Beach, surrounded by a pine forest with easy access to the water and gentle waves. Closer to town is Lò Vôi Bay. The low tide in the morning and early afternoon is perfect for taking a walk. There you’ll see fishermen out on their basket boats and children foraging for shells in the sand.

Test out the waters

Beach breaks on Con Dao Islands

Diving and snorkeling in Côn Đảo are among the best in the country. Save a day to join a boat tour to the coral reefs at Hòn Tài, Bảy Cạnh or Câu islands, where you can spot stingrays, barracuda, turtles, moray eels, batfish, clownfish and cuttlefish. Apart from boat tours, you’ll have plenty of offshore snorkeling opportunities as well. Đầm Tre Lagoon is one of Côn Sơn’s best snorkeling spots, reached via an adventurous two-hour hike. On one end of Parkplatz Vong beach you’ll find the national park trail leading to the lagoon. Don’t forget to bring your snorkeling gear to see the many clams that inhabit the waters of Đầm Tre.

Hike the National Park 

Beach breaks on Con Dao islands

Most of Côn Sơn is covered in trees, much to nature lovers’ delight. Hikers can access trails from many different parts of the island, but one of the best hiking routes starts right at the park’s entrance. The paved trail to Ông Đụng rock beach is easily managed, and on your way, you’ll find interesting information about the jungle’s unique ecosystem. For a full-day activity, take one of the many trails that split off at Ông Đụng beach. 

TIP: Some of Côn Sơn’s amazing trails –– such as the hike to Thánh Giá, the highest point on the island –– aren’t well marked. It’s a good idea to hire a guide if you want a safe and more insightful experience.

Ride the coastal highway

beach breaks on Con Dao islands

In Côn Sơn, driving a scooter is a local pastime. The island’s main road, connecting the North to the South, runs along the coast. Here, motorcyclists drive at a leisurely pace to take in the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. There are many tempting viewpoints along the drive, but the most breathtaking view is at Chim Chim Cape. Walk out on the tip of the peninsula to observe the waves crashing into the island’s steep cliffs. Even locals gather here to watch the sunset, or to stargaze at night.

Visit a turtle hatching sanctuary 

Beach breaks in Con Dao Islands

Bảy Cạnh, one of the islands in the archipelago, is where many marine turtles arrive from the Philippines to hatch their eggs. If you’re interested in this natural phenomenon, you can join the small organized tours that run daily from April to October during the hatching season. The guides, who are also conservationists, will tell you all about the behavior of the turtles and the threats they face.  In the early hours of the morning, you might get lucky and see hundreds of baby turtles rushing to the ocean. 

Get to know the town

Beach breaks in Con Dao Islands

You’ll quickly become acquainted with Côn Sơn, a small town with a smattering of colonial-era buildings plus several newer shops, hotels and restaurants. A bicycle ride is the best way to situate yourself. Small cafes such as Infinity provide a nice spot to cool down with a cà phê sữa đá. You may want to visit the Phú Hải Prison for a glimpse into the island’s history as a former penal colony. Of course, Côn Sơn is bursting with seafood joints –– pick one with a live catch on display for a fresh seafood dinner. If you’re in the mood for Vietnamese food, try Quán ăn Nguyen An, or the delicious handmade noodles at Gia Minh.

TIP: Finish your night with a cocktail at the lively 200 Bar, known for its classic rock playlist. 

Relax at your resort

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The most talked-about accommodation on Côn Đảo is Six Senses. Six Senses specializes in immersive wellness retreats and creates the ideal atmosphere to de-stress in its bamboo beachfront villas. The resort’s long private beach, eco-friendly design and celebrity guest list all contribute to its reputation. There are, however, other lovely places to stay in Côn Sơn. Villa Maison is a boutique hotel in the heart of the town with cozy, stylish rooms and a fantastic restaurant. Budget travelers can try Mai’s Homestay, run by a local island girl and her partner who built their homestay with sustainability in mind.


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